A poem by this poet

Karl Shapiro


Born in Baltimore, MD, on November 10, 1913, Karl Shapiro attended the University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins University. He graduated in 1939 and served in the United States Army for the duration of WWII. While stationed in New Guinea, Shapiro wrote poems that he mailed home to his fiancee, who submitted them for publication. Collections of these poems form the bulk of his best-known work: Person, Place, and Thing (1942), Place of Love (1943), Essay on Rime (1945), and V-Letter and Other Poems (1945). He received the Pulitzer Prize for V-Letter and Other Poems. After his service, Shapiro returned to the United States and served as the editor of Poetry magazine until 1950. He took a faculty position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. There, he became editor for Prairie Schooner, from 1956-1966; he solicited and published the work of many important American poets including Richard Eberhart, Josephine Miles, John Frederick Nims, and William Carlos Williams. An important American Jewish literary figure, Shapiro stoically opposed the Bollingen Prize committee’s decision to grant an award to Ezra Pound in 1949, in light of Pound’s unabashed anti-Semitism. In addition to the Pulitzer and the Bollingen Prize, Shapiro was awarded an Academy of Arts and Letters Grant in 1944, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Shelley Memorial Prize. Shapiro died in New York City on May 14, 2000.